FDA approves 5-day contraceptive

WASHINGTON -- Federal health officials last week approved a new type of morning-after contraceptive that works longer than the current leading drug on the market.

The pill ella from HRA Pharma reduces the chance of pregnancy up to five days after sex. Plan B, the most widely used emergency contraceptive pill, begins losing its ability to prevent pregnancy within three days of sex.

The Food and Drug Administration approved ella as a prescription-only birth-control option. The ruling clears the way for U.S. sales of the drug, which already is approved in Europe.

Studies of ella by its manufacturer showed the drug prevented pregnancies longer and more consistently than Plan B. In a head-to-head trial between the two drugs, women who took ella had a 1.8 percent chance of becoming pregnant, while women who took Plan B had a 2.6 percent chance. Experts tracked nearly 1,700 women who randomly received one of the two pills within three to five days of having unprotected sex.

HRA Pharma did not request over-the-counter status for its drug.

Ella uses the hormone progesterone to delay ovulation, a key step in the fertilization process.

Despite this, the drug has drawn criticism from anti-abortion groups who say it is closer to an abortion pill than an emergency contraception pill.

Groups including the Family Research Council argue that the drug is chemically similar to the abortion drug mifeprestone, which can be taken to end a pregnancy up to 50 days into the gestation period. That drug has been associated with severe infections and bleeding after abortion. However, FDA reviewers reported no life-threatening medical side effects with ella.

The most common side effects with the drug included headache, nausea and abdominal pain, according to an FDA release.

Jazz singer Lincoln dies at 80

NEW YORK -- Abbey Lincoln, a jazz singer and songwriter known for her phrasing, emotion and uncompromising style, died last week in New York at 80.

She had been declining in health for the past year. Her death was confirmed by friend and filmmaker Carol Friedman, who has been working on a documentary on Lincoln's life.

Lincoln made records and acted in films in the 1950s and '60s, then saw her career surge again in the 1990s, when she found new voice as a songwriter.

Over her long career, Lincoln acted with Sidney Poitier and collaborated in music with drummer Max Roach, whom she married in 1962 and later divorced.

As a young woman, Lincoln made a splash not only because of her voice, but her beauty. Early album covers featured her in slinky dresses, and she appeared in a Jayne Mansfield movie wearing the dress worn by Marilyn Monroe in "Gentlemen Prefer Blondes."

But after falling under Roach's influence, Lincoln turned her back on that image, casting herself instead as a civil rights advocate, dressing in African-inspired clothing and hairstyles and making music with a political tone.

Her 1960 collaboration with Roach and Oscar Brown Jr., "We Insist! (Freedom Now Suite)," was a testament against racism.

In 2003, the National Endowment for the Arts recognized her with its Jazz Masters Award, the nation's highest jazz honor.

"I've done what I please, told people to go bug off and exercised my independence," Lincoln told the AP in 1993.

Friedman said the world had lost "an amazing genius."

"There are gorgeous women, there are spirited women, there are genius women -- Abbey Lincoln was all of that," she said. "You don't find an artist that embodies this kind of level of physical beauty and cerebral magnificence in one package."

Her paycheck linked to his cheating

WASHINGTON -- Remember that classic perfume ad from the late-1970s? "I can bring home the bacon, fry it up in a pan. And never, never, never let you forget you're a man."

It turns out, the dynamics of gender identity are a bit more complicated than the Mad Men of the 1970s envisioned. In many cases, women who are bringing home the bacon will need the frying pan for something very different than frying up said bacon in a pan: They'll need it to clobber their philandering partners.

The message conveyed in a study released this week is certain to stir anger among women who work hard outside the home to help support their families: If you are the betrayed wife or female partner of a philandering man, it suggests, you may have your paycheck to blame.

Being in a relationship with a female partner who earns more than he does can make a man feel less of a man, Cornell University sociologist Christin Munsch told colleagues at the annual confab of the American Sociological Association. To affirm and restore his battered sense of manhood, a man may feel he needs to go outside the relationship in search of sexual conquest, she said.

Yes, yes, of course, relationship satisfaction matters, as does the religiosity of the man in question. As either increases, the odds of a man engaging in extramarital sex go down, Munsch found.

Combing through the responses of a nationally representative sample collected in the 1997 National Longitudinal Survey of Youth, the last such survey to have been done, Munsch found that for men who ranked low in terms of their economic dependence on a female partner, the probability of infidelity was relatively low.

With every upward click of Munsch's measure of male economic dependence on a female partner, men were more likely to cheat.

For women, the relative size of her paycheck matters in regard to fidelity. But the relationship between the two is not the same as for men.

For women, Munsch found that increasing dependence on a male partner's paycheck resulted in higher levels of fidelity. And as women's paychecks went from equaling those of their husbands to exceeding it, they became more likely to cheat.